April 2022: Climate Refugees


As climate change causes an increase in natural disasters associated with extreme changes in weather patterns and rising sea levels worldwide, we will continue to see vulnerable people forcibly displaced from their homes and homelands. The unfortunate irony is that the people most often displaced are those whose very lives and livelihoods depend upon the resources threatened but whose lifestyles have contributed least to the climate crisis. As with many social justice and human rights issues, climate change is intricately linked to economics and politics, with global governmental and corporate powers in control of climate policy and the response to climate emergencies. Denying the effect of policy on climate and ignoring the emergencies caused by climate change will continue to threaten the food and water security of vulnerable populations and may lead to destabilization in some regions. As disciples of Christ, we are called to be a part of the restoration of God's perfect creation. We do this by advocating for policies, processes and systems that will not only help spur the renewal of our planet but will also allow for the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people, regardless of race or socioeconomic status, in the development of these laws and regulations.


LEARN

To learn more about the United Methodist stance on energy policy, please visit https://www.umc.org/en/content/book-of-resolutions-energy-policy-statement and https://www.umc.org/en/content/book-of-resolutions-us-energy-policy-and-united-methodist-responsibility


To learn more about climate action in Fairfax County, please visit https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/environment-energy-coordination/climate-planning-action


To learn more about local interfaith efforts to address climate change and its effects, please visit https://vaipl.org/ or https://faithforclimate.org/method-and-results/


To learn more about how black neighborhoods in the US are affected by climate change, please visit https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/flooding-disproportionately-harms-black-neighborhoods/


REFLECT

Scripture

“Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.”

-John 1:3


Prayer


Father of Creation,God of Justice,


Your Son proclaimed and enacted the reign of God, He showed us what this looked like. He healed the sick, He welcomed the marginalized He treated the vulnerable with dignity. To him be all praise.

Your Son performed and participated in the reign of God, He showed us that love looks like something. A self-giving sacrificial love, That love is a verb, That love makes a difference. To him be all praise.

Your Son proclaimed and enacted the reign of God, He knew what would befall the city. He wept, He urged repentance, He promoted peace in a culture of violence. To him be all praise.

Your Son performed and participated in the reign of God, Speaking Truth to Power, By overturning tables, Extending tables, And by being nailed to a cross. To him be all praise.

Father of Creation,

God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, We, too, have heard the kingdom call, A stirring within to live authentically in this culture of denial and despair. We have wept when we have seen what is befalling the world.

As temperatures rise, As sea levels rise, Lord, have mercy.

As crop failures increase, As conflicts over resources increase, Lord, have mercy.

As anxiety increases, As extinctions increase, Lord have mercy.

Yet, we too have heard the kingdom call, To proclaim and enact the reign of God. May we look to Jesus to look like Jesus, To bring healing to the world, To welcome the climate refugee, And to treat the world’s most vulnerable with dignity. Equip and empower us, O Father, to this kingdom calling.

We have heard the kingdom call, To perform and participate in the reign of God. May we look to Jesus to look like Jesus. To live lives of self-giving sacrificial love, To show that love is a verb, A love that makes a difference. Equip and empower us, O Father, to this kingdom calling.

We have heard the kingdom call,

To proclaim and enact the reign of God, To weep at what is befalling us, To urge repentance and recalibration from ecological violence, To be peacemakers in a world of increased militarism and climate conflicts. Equip and empower us, O Father, to this kingdom calling.

We have heard the kingdom call, To proclaim and enact the reign of God, To speak truth to the power and politics that plunge us further into climate breakdown, To have the courage and wisdom to overturn the tables of unrestrained capitalism that oppress the poor. To extend the tables that bridge the walls of climate apartheid. To take up our cross and follow your Son. Equip and empower us, O Father, to this kingdom calling.

Father of Creation, God of Justice, The miracle of divine grace does not imply passivity. Empower us by your Spirit, To a holy Kingdom rebellion, For all that is good, true and beautiful.

Until that day when the end will come, When unrestrained capitalism and ecological violence will be no more, And the Kingdom will be handed to you.

To him who sits on the throne, And to the Lamb, Be all praise, honor and glory. Amen.


Reverend Jon Swales, St. George’s, Leeds, April 2021


For Consideration


1. Consider the danger and despair that those forced from their homes and homelands face. What short- and long-term physical, emotional, and spiritual toll might it take on them individually and as families?

2. How does advocating for sound climate policy and for the plight of climate refugees intersect with what you believe to be your calling in Christ? What is God asking you to do?

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